Today’s writing prompt is also taken from Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie.
Word spread, rumours sliding through the grass on the hisses of adders, whispers hitching lifts in the feathers of birds, and tales validated in the grunts of boar, and vixen siren calls.
A glaucous moon offered its pale, setting light to the gathering in the woods. In the packed congregation solemnity ruled.
‘Who will speak for us?’ A bolder-than-most hare asked of no-one.
Squeaks, grumbles, chirrups, but no volunteers, until …
‘I will.’ Eagle’s talons curled around the oak branch. He twisted his head, his third eyelid flashing to soften his piercing gaze.
Boar grunted. ‘Will they listen, this time?’
Annoyed chattering, scraping of tiny claws on stones, shaking of heads.
‘Who who?’ Owl arrived and settled two branches away from Eagle. ‘Who will listen?’
‘Won’t listen,’ Hare said. ‘But if Eagle will try …’
‘Not alone.’ Eagle lifted his wings to the cool night air. ‘You, Owl, will come with me. Your wisdom and my strength might do the trick.’
Cheers of assent rose from the forest creature. Eagle and Owl took flight and the congregation turned as one and swarmed after them. Voles and field mice rode on the backs of rabbits who hopped alongside weasels, stoats and foxes, all twisting between browning bracken, through flowering wild mint, skirting new fungi growth, until they came to the place.
Eagle and Owl were, of course, already there, deep in conversation with the ones they had come to see.
A burly ranger stared into the gold and black coals of a camp fire. His colleague sipped his first coffee of the day, the smell of which caused the creatures’ noses to wrinkle in disgust.
The animals waited in a respectful semi-circle, hearts thudding, ears straining.
‘Very well.’ The burly one huffed loudly. ‘If it’s so special, we’ll leave that tree be.’ He turned to the coffee sipper. ‘You’ll let the contractors know, won’t you, Bill?’
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